By: Brian Lombardo
BOSTON- The Terriers will face a tough test in their next exhibition contest as the U.S. National Under-18 Team continues its tour of U.S. colleges on Friday.
The U.S. team’s roster features 21 NCAA Division 1 commits, including 10 Hockey East commits and five future Terriers.
For a roster composed of high school aged players, the team has knocked off some of the NCAA’s top teams in their exhibition tour. In the last two weeks, the US-18NT defeated previously ranked No. 2 Notre Dame, 4-1, and No. 11 Michigan, 6-3.
Players To Watch
Going in to Friday’s contest all eyes will be on the projected number one pick of the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Jack Hughes. Hughes, whose brother Quinn is a defensemen for Michigan, is widely regarded as the most complete player heading into an NHL draft since Connor McDavid in 2015.
Terriers head coach Albie O’Connell had high praise for Hughes.
“I don’t know if there is a guy in college hockey as dynamic as Jack Hughes,” O’Connell said. “So we’re going to have to watch him when he’s on the ice.”
Future BU commits will also be receiving the attention of fans as they skate on the ice at Jack Parker Rink for the first time. One of those five future Terriers is 6-foot 6-inch defensemen Alex Vlasic (c/o 2024). The massive defenseman is also regarded as a top-10 pick in the 2019 draft. The Terriers have three members of the class of 2024 on the roster in addition to Vlasic, in Cade Webber (D) and Trevor Zegras (F).
While these commits won’t be wearing the scarlet and white until the 2020-21 season, the US-18NT roster features two commits who will be here next season.
Defensemen Domenick Fensore and Case McCarthy will be freshmen for the 2019-2020 season.
A Talented Bunch
The US-18NT is loaded with players that are widely considered NHL caliber talent. As much as this is a good opportunity for the Terriers to skate against good competition, it is also an opportunity for the group of 17 and 18-year-olds to begin getting familiar with NCAA competition.
“It’s exciting, they’re a highly skilled, really athletic group and they can score,” O’Connell said. “So we have to play good defense. It might be the most skilled team we play all year.”
The contest against the US-18 team will be the final exhibition of the season. Despite beginning their regular season officially last weekend against Minnesota State, the Terriers begin Hockey East play on Saturday when they travel to Merrimack College.